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Pendock Mallorn Ltd. — Accounting for Practitioners

the August 2007 Review of Engagement & Trial Balance Systems

Accounting For Practitioners (AFP) is designed for small to midsize firms that
have up to 15 users. It provides the basic functionality for taking a client’s
chart of accounts, adjusting the balances, and grouping the information for
the preparation of financial statements and tax returns. There are three versions
of AFP: AFP “Light” is a single-user version that has only trial
balance capabilities. It is designed for the practitioner that focuses primarily
on preparing business tax returns. AFP “Standard” is licensed for
five users and adds features for preparing financial statements and workpapers
for lead sheets, grouping schedules, ratio analysis, amortization schedules
and data import features. AFP “Gold” is a 15-user version that also
includes consolidation features, PDF file creation, trend analysis, budgeting
and features for moving to a “less paper’ engagement.

New for 2007 are features that safeguard the AFP data file, an activity log
that creates a trail of user activity, a five-year lead sheet history report,
and an option to send an e-mail directly from AFP.

EASE OF USE — 3.5 Stars
Implementation was a breeze. From start to finish, the process took less than
two minutes. Documentation was complete and easy to follow and should be reviewed
completely before jumping into the program. While AFP is built in Microsoft
Excel and should be very intuitive to almost all users, the documentation provides
a “big picture” presentation of what AFP is capable of as well as
the various things that should be considered. A complete review of the documentation
will reduce the learning curve and improve the quality of using AFP.

A series of Excel worksheets guides the user through the client setup and
data-entry processes. The Excel format presents data in table format for data
creation, editing and viewing. This approach is very different from other applications
that use a “form” approach for creating data records.

The AFP trial balance can display up to four prior years of adjusted balances,
and AFP will flag accounts that have a current to prior year difference that
exceeds a user-defined dollar or percentage threshold. Bank reconciliation and
GL account analysis templates are provided to create standardized workpapers.
AFP features five types of journal entries: Adjusting/Normal, Potential, Reclassifying,
Period, and Tax Entries.

On a more advanced level, AFP can act as a document container for scanned
images. The process is straightforward: Scan the document and save as a *.TIF
or *.PNG file type (these are the only image types that can be displayed from
within an Excel workpaper). Then, import the saved document into AFP. The images
are accessible from the Scanned Images worksheet in the AFP worksheet. AFP can
be used to perform write-up services. The application has worksheets for recording
detailed transactions, reconciling bank accounts and producing the various journals
needed for write-up services. For analytical analysis of balance information,
AFP has 17 standard ratios for balance sheet analysis and provides percentage
analysis for the income statements.

A complete financial statement can be prepared by AFP, including the balance
sheet, income statement, statement of cash flows, the cover page, table of contents,
accountant’s report, notes to the financial statements, and supplementary
schedules. The use of Excel, and the ability to select numerous options, allows
for very flexible formatting of financial statements. AFP can also handle departmental,
consolidated and interim financial statements. It has features for preparing
engagement letters, representation letters and operating budgets.

AFP imports information from a client’s general ledger application that
can export information in an Excel or text file format. The import process involves
opening the exported file information in Excel and then copying the data into
the AFP Trial Balance Import worksheet. Any extraneous data rows are deleted,
and the clean information is then imported into the AFP trial balance worksheet.
Currently, AFP uses a text file approach for transferring data to popular tax
preparation programs. However, Pendock Mallorn is in the process of developing
XML data bridges for data transfer to tax applications.

Accounting For Practitioners offers good value for small firms. AFP Light costs
$599. The Standard version costs $899, and the Gold version costs $1,299. Annual
renewals are $100, $275, and $400, respectively. The program’s feature
set covers trial balance, financial statement and tax return preparation in
a straightforward manner. As an Excel-based program, AFP will be easy to use
for most firm members.

2007 Overall Rating: 3.5 Stars